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Torture

    April 01, 2016

    The Honourable Bill Graham, former Canadian Minister of National Defence, states in his recently released biography that representatives of Amnesty International were “emphatic” in exchanges with him in 2005 that prisoners apprehended by the Canadian military on the battlefield in Afghanistan should be transferred to the custody of Afghan authorities.

    That was not the organization’s position at that time or at any time.  Amnesty International has never called on the Canadian government to transfer prisoners to the Afghan government.

    March 25, 2016

    The release on bail of Mahmoud Hussein in the early hours of this morning offers a faint glimmer of hope for Egypt’s deeply flawed justice system, said Amnesty International.

    The 20-year-old spent more than two years behind bars after being arrested at the age of 18 in 2014 for wearing a “Nation Without Torture” T-shirt, and a scarf with a logo of the “25 January Revolution”. He was charged with belonging to a banned group and attending an unauthorised protest, amongst other things.

    He was released at 1am this morning local Cairo time and reunited with his family after a court upheld his release yesterday on 24 March.

    “Mahmoud Hussein’s release is way overdue - he has spent more than two years in prison when he should never have spent a single day behind bars. The Egyptian authorities must now drop the absurd charges against him and remove all conditions on his release so that he can be allowed to get on with his life,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    February 05, 2016

    Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 527 Days

    For over 500 days Salim Alaradi’s family and human rights organizations have been stressing that Alaradi is a political prisoner, a victim of regional politics and his detainment is related to internal Libyan affairs. Today lawyers confirmed that the prosecution file confirms exactly this.

    On January 18, 2016 Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi as well as American nationals Kamal and Mohamed ElDarat, charged in the same case, learnt of their charges for the first time in court. Paul Champ, Alaradi’s Canadian lawyer, described the charges as “bizarre.” Alaradi denied all charges that alleged he funded, supported and co-operated with two Libyan organizations – Libyan Dawn (a Libyan military operation) and the February 17 Brigade (a legitimate military body) which formed during the 2011 revolution and no longer exists.

    The UAE has alleged that both are terrorist organizations but neither entity named in the charges is listed by the Libyan government, Canadian government, US government or the United Nation as terrorist entities.

    January 14, 2016

    Canadian Citizen Detained in UAE for 503 Days

    After nearly 17 months of detention in the United Arab Emirates without charge or access to a lawyer, the family of Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi has learned he will be prosecuted by UAE authorities. The man from Windsor, Ontario will learn the charges against him at the start of trial on January 18, 2016 before the State Security Chamber of the UAE Federal Supreme Court.

    Alaradi, a successful businessman and father of five young children, was seized by UAE State Security officials in Abu Dhabi on August 28, 2014. Alaradi was held in a secret prison for three months before UAE authorities acknowledged his detention and transferred him to local Al Whatba prison. Canadian consular officials made repeated requests to visit Alaradi, but were only allowed to see him three times during his first year in detention. Local lawyers hired by Alaradi’s family were repeatedly denied access to him until being allowed a first visit this week, only a few days before the trial begins.

    January 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  14 January 2015

    New evidence of deaths in custody and torture collected by Amnesty International suggests that brutal repression is on the rise again in Tunisia exactly five years after the toppling of the previous authoritarian regime by the “Jasmine Revolution”, which sparked a wave of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.

    During a visit to Tunisia in December last year, Amnesty International collected information about deaths in police custody as well as allegations of torture carried out in the course of police interrogations.

    “Five years ago Tunisians rose up and threw off the shackles of authoritarianism. Torture and repression were hallmarks of former President Ben-Ali’s regime; they must not be allowed to become defining features of post-uprising Tunisia,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program.

    December 11, 2015

    A 14-year-old boy who says he was raped in detention by Egyptian National Security agents must be immediately released and those responsible for torturing him brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Mazen Mohamed Abdallah’s family told the organization the teenager was repeatedly tortured in custody, given electric shocks on his genitals and had a wooden stick repeatedly thrust into his anus as police forced him to confess to protesting without authorization and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

    “The horrific abuse described by Mazen Mohamed Abdallah gives a sickening insight into the widespread and routine use of torture and ill-treatment by Egyptian security forces in police stations,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “That such abuse is meted out against children in detention is utterly deplorable.”

    December 08, 2015

    The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights convened a second inquiry on Amnesty International’s ‘Above The Law: Torture in the Police’ report launched in December 2014 following a resolution passed in January to respond to the evidence included in the report regarding widespread torture in the Philippine National Police.

    “Amnesty International welcomes this positive step by the Senate to convene these hearing towards ending the use of torture in the Philippines.Senator Aquilino Pimentel’s concern about the zero conviction rate on cases of torture, six years after the anti-torture law was passed, and the need to address the weakness within the Philippines justice system is reassuring,’ said Josef Roy Benedict, Amnesty International South East Asia Deputy Director for Campaigns.

    “However it is disappointing to hear that the Philippine National Police have yet to review Amnesty International’s report and recommendations a year after it was published. This raises serious questions about their willingness to address and eradicate torture within the police force,” he added.

    November 10, 2015

     The acquittal of a young woman who was tortured into confessing to the crime of extortion is long awaited good news but Mexico must ensure those responsible for the abuse she suffered face justice and that she receives reparation, said Amnesty International.

    “The fact that a young woman has been forced to spend two years in prison after being tortured to confess to a crime speaks volumes about the state of the Mexican judicial system,” said Erika-Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome Cristel’s acquittal, justice will not be done until those who sexually tortured her into confessing to a crime are put behind bars and a strong message is sent that torture is never acceptable.”
     
    Cristel Fabiola Piña Jasso, a 25-year old mother of two, was today acquitted by a court in Chihuahua, northern Mexico after spending two years in prison. The judge found there was not sufficient evidence against her and ordered a federal investigation into the torture she suffered.

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    October 23, 2015

    Released  23 October 2015, 00:01Hs Mexico (05:01 GMT)

    Mexico’s torture epidemic has reached new catastrophic levels with reports of asphyxiation, rape and other sexual abuse, electric shocks and beatings at the federal level more than doubling in the last year, said Amnesty International in a new report today as President Peña Nieto prepares to present a new Torture Bill to Congress.

    “A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine how Mexico’s torture crisis could have gotten any worse and then it just did while the government continues to turn a blind eye to a crisis of their own creation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The number of torture complaints filed at the federal level more than doubled between 2013 and 2014 – from 1,165 to 2,403, according to data from Mexico’s Federal Attorney General´s Office.

    The Federal Attorney General´s Office told Amnesty International that they have “no hard data” on any  charges issued in 2014 against those responsible.

    September 18, 2015

    Tarek Tito's brother Mahmoud Hussein has spent over a year in an Egyptian jail, simply for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt. On the anniversary of Mahmoud's 600th day in jail, Tarek writes his younger brother a letter.

    My little Mahmoud, 600 days have passed and you are not yet home.

    I can no longer stand your absence.  The bitterness of separation disrupts our small family. Mother makes your bed every morning while she hides her tears from us, and Father stares at your face in the photos that now cover his room. It’s as if he is getting to know you all over again. We miss your laughter and await your freedom with every sunrise.

    The day I almost lost my mind

    You have been detained for more than 600 days for wearing a t-shirt that said “Nation without Torture”. That was our dream following the 25 January Revolution – the dream of a country that respects and honours the human body and protects it from torture.

    September 15, 2015

    The Moroccan authorities must implement the UN body’s decision, protect Ali Aarrass from further abuse while he remains imprisoned, and ensure he has effective access to justice, Amnesty International said. Ali Aarrass went on hunger strike on 25 August in Salé II Local Prison near Morocco’s capital Rabat two years after the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) called on the Moroccan authorities to release him. He is severely weakened and struggles to stand, his family told Amnesty International.

    Ali Aarrass also entered the hunger strike to protest fresh improper treatment by the head guard in his prison block, significant delays in the investigation carried out by the judicial authorities into his torture allegations, as well as the lack of response by the Court of Cassation nearly three years after he appealed his conviction to Morocco’s supreme judicial authority.

    September 01, 2015

    The following statement was read by Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar's wife, as a press conference earlier today.

    I welcome today's announcement by the RCMP to lay criminal charges against Colonel George Salloum who was directly responsible for my torture while I was detained at the Palestinian Branch of the Syrian Military Intelligence.

    Since I launched my complaint in 2005, I gave the RCMP investigating team, during the many interviews I had with them, the information they needed to advance their investigation. This lengthy international investigation took the officers overseas to gather evidence. As a result, they were able to better understand the nature of interrogations in Syrian detention centers. Upon their return, the investigators were able to pass on their knowledge to other RCMP staff. 

    I believe this is vital for the RCMP to grasp given the increased urge to share information even with regimes who don't respect our understanding of basic human rights.

    September 01, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    One of the most unexpected and consequential phone calls I ever answered was back in September 2002.  A woman who introduced herself as Monia Mazigh was calling with a request for Amnesty International’s assistance.  Her husband Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, had disappeared in US custody while changing planes at JFK Airport in New York City on his way home from a family vacation in Tunisia. 

    Monia said to me, I do not know what accusations they are making against him.  All I demand is that they give him justice. 
     

    September 01, 2015

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have laid criminal charges today against a Syrian official for the torture of Canadian citizen Maher Arar almost 13 years ago.  It represents a tremendous advance in Mr. Arar’s longstanding quest for justice, truth and reparation for the grave human rights violations he experienced in 2002 and 2003.  It also sets a ground-breaking precedent – nationally and internationally – in the critical campaign to end the impunity that has long shielded torturers around the world.

    “Torture continues at such alarming rates worldwide because those responsible are rarely held to account for their heinous crimes,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “No matter where it occurs or who carries it out, all governments are obliged to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility for torture face justice.  But few ever do. Canada is taking a historic step in meeting that responsibility by seeking the arrest of a foreign official accused of committing torture in another country.”

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